A friend got in touch asking if there was anything we could think of by way of promotional ideas to assist with raising the profile of his fledgeling charity clothing label Disco Queen. Immediately I suggested stickers as a potential way to raise a little interest. Then I saw their logo and decided a neon wall version would be a good idea.
Why I’m not quite sure as we’ve never attempted it before. But since when has that stopped us before? It’s definitely not as easy as I first hoped but with a little work I’m pretty happy with the end result.
Now we’ve got the logo in front of your eyeballs that’ll hopefully lead you to investigate further. Check @ladiscoqueen on Instagram for more…
With wall one at Rah Rah Room completed it was then time to turn our attention to the next wall. The wall is situated directly ahead as you descend the stairs into the club so needed to be high impact and a clear indicator of the kind of night you’d find yourself in for. The decision was made that it was to be the lady in the necklace and fancy Rah Rah head dress. After just a weekend to get supplies and otherwise get prepared it’s then time to get to work. Once the lady was up and her head dress was just as fancy as can be came the somewhat laborious task of applying a load of diamantes to her necklace and a couple to her eyes to give them a bit of sparkle. The only remaining task was then trying to get a decent shot of it all. Which we didn’t seem to do very well at. I can only assure you that she sparkles beautifully and has lots of diamantes set into her necklace.
When the id-iomphone rings we answer. This time the call took us to Milton Keynes. We’ve worked for the folk behind the imminently opening MK Social a couple of times before so thought we knew what to expect. After an early start, at an hour not normally known to urban artists unless they’re hitting the streets for some late night redecoration, we set off for the bright lights of MK. We had two big walls and a little bit of street work to complete over the course of a couple of days. We even had a scissor lift but unfortunately for us it wouldn’t reach to the wall behind the bar so it was back to basics and a huge ladder was soon procured. We couldn’t be having it too easy now could we?
Anyway, as a reminder to myself, the wallpaper style background is all well and good when you’re designing it but it’s a different matter when you’re trying to align stencils 30ft up in the air. Particularly when you’re hanging off a ladder to do so. Suffice it to say that we at least managed to get it all completed without a trip to A&E. After the walls were done there was then the matter of a little street promotion work consisting of us wandering around high traffic areas with a stencil and a few cans of chalk spray paint to get word out to potential punters. Some mucky hands and messy clothing later and it was time to bid adieu to MK until next time. Let’s hope the locals appreciate it all…
“There’s a guy in the place who’s got a bittersweet face. And he goes by the name of Ebeneezer Goode” sang The Shamen in their 1992 No.1 hit ‘Ebeneezeer Goode’. There was much controversy at the time about whether or not the song was endorsing recreational drug use. Which it obviously was. It hardly takes a genius to work that one out. Anyway, you may wonder what that has to do with today’s piece. Not much directly but it does allow me to segue nicely into the world of MDMA, Ecstasy, madman, X or Mandy. Call it what you will. Back in the late 90’s London’s club scene was buzzing with places like Turnmills, The Cross, The End and Fabric (to name but a few) having wildly successful evenings week after week. You’d only have to venture into one of those booming dens of iniquity to witness a large percentage of the crowd looking decidedly happy, chatty and sweaty. Now I’m not endorsing anything but I had some good times in those places myself.
So today’s piece is a tribute to those good times, wherever you were at the time. I’ve got a few favourite touches on this piece – the googly eyes, the Mitsubishi sign overlaid on the club and the thread which overlays the stencil of the chemical composition of MDMA. Winner. Now, if anyone wants to save this from an uncertain life on the streets it’s time to speak up now…
BONUS FACT – When the Shamen appeared on Top of the Pops, it was expected that Mr.C would tone down the song due to its being broadcast. The group replaced the final lyric “Got any Salmon?” with “Has anyone got any underlay?” He was later asked about this in a radio interview, to which he replied that it was not a drug reference but a rug reference
After a couple of years hiatus it was once again time for Upnorthfest. After the first one in Southport this time it was back but had gone further up north to Sunderland. After we’d loaded up the id-iomobile it was time to hit the road. A gruelling 6.5 hour drive saw us arriving around 1.30am where, thankfully, our gracious host was still up and receiving guests. (A big thanks to Pauline for putting us up and Frank for putting us in touch with her!)
The next morning we were up early and headed down to Studio Q where we’d be painting. Street work in late September is always something of a gamble so we were hugely relieved that it was blue skies and sunshine all round. We got shown to our wall but it hadn’t yet been painted with red oxide, the paint of choice for this year’s festival, so to start the day it was rollers at the ready with red oxide in hand. The first act of the day was managing to break the extendable roller so a quick trip to Homebase was in order. After that it was the laborious job of painting the wall with the glue-like red oxide.
Using the tower scaffold proved easier than anticipated once we’d managed to get the legs level and once the wall was dry it was time to move onto the main event – Jack Mackem the Sunderland Fitter. We’d done a little research in the hopes of coming up with a good design and it was revealed that historically the playing card the Jack of Clubs was also known as the Sunderland Fitter. Once we had this little nugget of information the design pretty much suggested itself. The ‘Mackem’ ambigram in the middle was the final flourish and we’re left with the somewhat moody visage of Jack Mackem the Sunderland Fitter. As he’s the Jack of Clubs it’s probably fitting that he looks something like a bouncer. With any luck he’ll be gracing the streets for a couple of years so keep your eyes open if you’re up in the North East.
The late Amy Winehouse has sadly gone down in history as one of the 27 club, this picture however was completed some time before her death. The stencil was originally apart of our celebrity head series which we incorporated with quotes from the celebrities themselves, you really can’t believe some of the stupid things that some of them have said…
It is A2 in size and is made using stencils, watercolour and glitter. Signed on reverse.
Just over a year ago we did some work for a new bar opening in Brixton called the Electric Social. To promote the bar’s 1st birthday (how time flies!) we were asked to go out and do a small street campaign in the surrounding areas with a single layer stencil and some chalk paint (I love chalk paint by the way). So we put on some sturdy walking boots and hit the road for a pleasing stroll whilst at the same time spraying up the pavement near the likes of bus stops, crossings and bins where people usually slow down their pace a little so there is all the more chance for them to notice a little subversive advertising. Thankfully all went well and although we couldn’t make it to the actual birthday party we heard that it was also a massive success with one of their busiest night to date. Happy Birthday sunshine!!
How to shake hands properly – it’s a thing every proper gentleman should know. None of this bone-crushing stuff to try and prove you’re a tough guy nor limp soggy handshakes that satisfy nobody. You’ve got to get it just right, it’s really not that tricky and this little number will put you on the right track if you’re having trouble. I automatically hate people who try to crush your hand because unless you’re a giant with poor motor skills there really is no excuse to be so rude – especially when you have just met someone. Certainly not the way to start off any relationship as far as i’m concerned…
This guide will soon be adoring the walls of the Electric Social in Brixton. We’ve done a load of work for them before but they were looking for a few more artefacts to put on their already spanky fresh walls so we were more than happy to oblige.
We headed down to Paignton in Devon on the weekend to assist with the redecoration of a venue called the Lighthouse. After a busy day’s stencil cutting on Friday it was an early start (for a Saturday) and a 4 hour drive to the English Riviera. We arrived in Paignton at 12.30 to an overcast sky and a healthy seaside wind. Thankfully there was enough space to paint inside as i didn’t fancy our chances with a massive stencil and one of my arms in a cast with the wind driving off the sea.
We managed to get one large piece done called ‘Fool come save me’ (she measures about 6ft x 5ft) and numerous smaller bits done. It’s always good to catch up with various people and make some new friends – especially easy when you have disco bag on hand to help out with some tunes.
After getting our work finished we decided to get some fish and chips for dinner and then have a couple of drinks on Paignton seafront (yes, i did feel like i was 17 again) before too long we got moved on by the police (again feeling very much like i was seventeen again) and we then spent an hour or two drinking by the harbour, pictured above (as apparently this was allowed whereas drinking on the seafront wasn’t) before moving indoors at a local hostelry and then back to the Lighthouse for some after hours fun. All in all a great weekend away.
Hopefully a little video will be forthcoming once i manage to stick something together… Watch this space!